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Shroudby John Banville
Synopses & Reviews
Axel Vander is an old man, in ill health, recently widowed, a scholar renowned for both his unquestionable authority and the ferocity and violence that often mark his conduct. He is known to be Belgian by birth, to have had a privileged upbringing, to have made a perilous escape from World War II–torn Europe—his blind eye and
dead leg are indelible reminders of that time. But Vander is also a master liar (“I lied to lie”), his true identity shrouded under countless layers of intricately connected falsehoods. Now a young woman he doesn’t know, and whom he has dubbed “Miss Nemesis,” has threatened to expose the most fundamental and damaging of these lies. Vander has agreed to travel from California to meet her in Italy—in Turin, city of the most mysterious shroud—believing that he will have no difficulty rendering her harmless.
But he is wrong. This woman—at once mad and brilliant, generous and demanding—will be the catalyst for Vander’s reluctant journey through his past toward the truths he has hidden, and toward others even he will be shocked to discover.
In Shroud—as in all of his acclaimed previous novels—John Banville gives us an emotionally resonant tale, exceptionally rich in language and image, dazzling in its narrative invention. It is a work of uncommon power.
"Shroud certainly demonstrates [Banville?s] ability to generate extreme tension and utterly uncanny atmospheres; it also situates him firmly within a great European tradition." The Guardian (London)
"Morally gripping as it is, Shroud is still a Banville performance, playing brilliantly with language in the gap between actuality and perception...Shroud will not easily be surpassed for combination of wit, moral complexity, and compassion. It is hard to see what more a novel could do." Irish Times
"Without being a remotely moralistic writer, he has produced a starkly intense moral parable." Sunday Tribune
"In beautiful, lucid prose John Banville describes a tragedy so strongly rooted in history and character that, like all real tragedies, it could not happen otherwise." The Times (London)
"John Banville?s literary powers are so commanding that it feels almost wilful to withold full assent from Shroud, a book almost entirely composed of bursts of amazing prose." The Observer
About the Author
John Banville was born in Wexford, Ireland, in 1945. His first book, Long Lankin, was published in 1970. His other books include Nightspawn, Birchwood, The Newton Letter, Mefisto, and The Book of Evidence (which was shortlisted for the 1989 Booker Prize). He lives in Dublin.
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